WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration has brought unprecedented criminal charges against five officials in the Chinese military for hacking into private U.S. companies' systems and stealing trade secrets. It was the first time the U.S. has revealed any evidence the Chinese government was going after American companies' private information for economic gain.
The African Union force battling Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab rebels said Tuesday it had conducted new air strikes against a rebel base in the south of the country, the second attack in three days. A statement from Amisom said its planes were after "senior leadership and foreign Al-Shebab fighters" at a base near the town of Jilib in Somalia's Middle Juba region. Two of the bombs landed near Faragurow village leaving four civilians wounded but we don’t know about other casualties they may have caused," said a local resident, Moalim Hassan. Idle Ahmed, another resident, said Shebab militant fighters riding on pick-up trucks were seen rushing to the scene and stopped ordinary civilians from approaching.
Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) (AFP) - Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam visited regional heavyweight Saudi Arabia Tuesday as his country struggled to elect a new president. Salam told reporters in the Red Sea city of Jeddah the repeatedly-delayed election of a leader to replace President Michel Sleiman's whose mandate expires on May 25 is an "internal Lebanese affair". The official SPA news agency said Salam spoke after meeting King Abdullah at Jeddah airport. Earlier, after meeting Saudi Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, an adviser to Salam said his visit "is not related to the presidential election in Lebanon".
Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah will travel to Iran on May 31 amid a recent thaw in Tehran's relations with Gulf states, the Iranian foreign ministry said Tuesday. Relations between Iran and the Gulf states have been frosty for years, with disagreements over the unrest in Bahrain and the conflict in Syria, before Hassan Rouhani was elected president of the Islamic republic last June. "The visit (of the Emir), which is upon the invitation of President Hassan Rouhani, will open a new chapter in relations of both countries," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham told reporters at a news briefing.
Bahrain's parliament on Tuesday sacked a Sunni MP who had criticised conditions at a detention centre where inmates are mostly Shiites held over roles in anti-regime protests. Parliament speaker Khalifa al-Dhahrani said 31 MPs out of the 40-member chamber voted to eject Osama Mehanna, in a statement published by BNA state news agency. Mehanna was elected in October 2011 in partial polls held to replace 18 MPs of the Shiite Al-Wefaq opposition group who resigned in protest at violence used to quell a month of pro-reform protests.
Attacks north of Baghdad killed 11 Iraqi soldiers on Tuesday, the latest in a protracted surge in bloodshed just a day after officials announced results from April's parliamentary election. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who is seeking a third term in office, has been held responsible by critics for the deterioration in security but he has blamed external factors such as the civil war in neighbouring Syria. In Tuesday's deadliest attack, gunmen opened fire on a bus transporting soldiers from the restive northern town of Suleiman Bek, according to local official Talib Mohammed al-Bayati. The authorities have trumpeted wide-ranging operations against militants and say that external factors are responsible for the surge in bloodshed.
The front-runner in Guinea-Bissau's presidential race, Jose Mario Vaz, won the decisive run-off on Tuesday, according to preliminary results released by election officials. The candidate of the west African nation's largest party won an overwhelming 62 percent of the vote against independent rival Nuno Gomes Nabiam, the election commission said. Vaz, 57, of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde, won the first round on April 13 but failed to get an outright majority, pitting him against Nabiam in a head-to-head second round on Sunday. Already mired in poverty, the fragile nation of 1.6 million has been stagnating for two years under the rule of an army-backed transitional government, with the economy anaemic and endemic corruption fuelled by rampant drug trafficking.
Rocket fire by Syrian military helicopters killed at least 10 people in the northern town of Azaz on Tuesday, a monitoring group said. The air raid came hot on the heels of hours of a rocket strike on the nearby town of Marea which killed 13 people, 10 of them children, on Monday night, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The helicopter gunships opened fire on the eastern entrance to Azaz, a small town in Aleppo province near Syria's border with Turkey, on Tuesday morning, the Britain-based group said. Elsewhere, state news agency SANA reported that a photographer with the Syrian military, Hassan Omran, had been killed by "terrorist fire" while accompanying troops in southern Daraa province.
Right-wing author and pundit Dinesh D'Souza, a forceful critic of President Barack Obama, pleaded guilty Tuesday to using straw donors to boost contributions to a US Senate candidate in 2012. In January, D'Souza was charged with violating laws which limit the amount individuals can donate to political campaigns, and with making false statements.
Urban fighting between government and militia forces killed several people in Sudan's Darfur on Tuesday, sources said, ending an uneasy calm after the region's worst unrest in a decade. "They are fighting inside El Fasher town -- heavy fighting," one resident told AFP by telephone, adding that he could not identify the combatants, although some were in uniform. One source familiar with the incident said six militiamen were killed along with four government troops.
By Howard Schneider WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A strengthening U.S. economy may force the central bank to hike rates "sooner rather than later" to stay ahead of inflation, Philadelphia Federal Reserve President Charles Plosser said on Tuesday. Affirming his hawkish stance, Plosser in a Washington speech said the Fed is at risk of falling "behind the curve" in its control of inflation if policy stays at its current loose level as the economy grows and the labor market continues to improve. He said he sees growth at 3 percent this year, despite a dim first-quarter result that he, along with many Fed members, have attributed to severe winter weather. He dismissed the first-quarter reading as an aberration and said the "underlying details are...encouraging." "As we continue to move closer to our 2 percent inflation goal and the labor market improves, we must be prepared to adjust policy appropriately," said Plosser, who currently serves as one of the regional bank members on the Fed's main policy-setting committee.
By Joseph Ax NEW YORK (Reuters) - Conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a campaign finance law violation, avoiding a trial that had been expected to begin the same day in a Manhattan federal court. D'Souza, known for his biting criticism of President Barack Obama, pleaded guilty to one criminal count of making illegal contributions in the names of others. The plea came four months after Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara charged D'Souza with using "straw donors" to give funds in 2012 to Republican Wendy Long's U.S. Senate campaign in New York. One of the friends was Denise Joseph, who was engaged to D'Souza while he was still married to another woman.